Aims: To evaluate the cardiovascular risk associated with the presence of the Metabolic Syndrome in Type 2 diabetic subjects.
Methods: Subjects with the Metabolic Syndrome, defined by WHO criteria, were identified in a large sample of non-insulin-treated Type 2 diabetic patients examined within the Verona Diabetes Complications Study (n = 946). At baseline and after a mean of 4.5 years follow-up, cardiovascular disease (CVD) was assessed by medical history, physical examination, electrocardiogram (ECG) and echo-duplex of carotid and lower limb arteries. Death certificates and medical records of subjects who died during the follow-up were scrutinized in order to identify CVD deaths. In statistical analyses, CVD was considered as an aggregate end-point, including fatal and non-fatal coronary, cerebrovascular and peripheral vascular disease as well as ischaemic ECG abnormalities and vascular lesions at the echo-duplex.
Results: The proportion of subjects with the Metabolic Syndrome was very high (92.3%). At the baseline, 31.7% of subjects were coded positive for CVD, which was more prevalent in subjects with the Metabolic Syndrome (32.9 vs. 17.8%, P = 0.005). Among subjects free of CVD at the baseline (n = 559), CVD events during the follow-up were significantly increased in patients with the Metabolic Syndrome as compared with those without it (19.9% vs. 3.9%, P < 0.001). Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that, along with sex, age, smoking and HbA1c, the presence of the Metabolic Syndrome independently predicted prevalent (OR 2.01, P = 0.045) and incident CVD (OR 4.89, P = 0.031).
Conclusions: In Type 2 diabetes, the presence of the Metabolic Syndrome is associated with an almost 5-fold increase in CVD risk.